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User management
Interested in SaaS user management? Discover everything you need to know about user management for SaaS tools and what solutions you can leverage.

Comprehensive guide to SaaS user management and solutions

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User management is key to organizational functioning, giving administrators the ability to manage applications, services, SaaS subscriptions and a stack of other digital and IT assets.

It is a complex area, but with modern tools, user management has become more simplified. These tools make crafting policies more effective, enhance the user experience, and protect companies against unauthorized access and misuse.

What is user management?

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User management is all about the management of devices, apps, systems, networks, SaaS subscriptions, and other IT and digital assets. User management is also central to identity and access management (IAM) since managing users’ access to assets is essential for company security.

Admins are responsible for setting up access to digital assets for both internal and external users, and for determining who can access what. For example, you probably wouldn’t want your marketing department to have access to internal financial information and systems. So, part of user management is also about controlling access based on permissions and roles.

User management encompass a variety of areas including:

  • Storing user details and credentials
  • Enabling users to set and reset passwords
  • Stopping unapproved access to data, applications, and platforms
  • Assigning the right applications, services, and systems to users
  • Enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA)

Modern user management: what you need to know

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Over the last few years, user management has moved to cloud-based IAM from on-premise identity providers (IdP) like Microsoft Active Directory and OpenLDAP which dealt with authentication, authorization, and user management for the local network.

Since then, cloud-based IAM has become the modern approach to user management because it allows greater control and flexibility for administrators while still being secure. It is also better for businesses managing large groups of users who need access to multiple digital resources.

Part of user management involves managing an IT budget. Admins need to track software spending and understand what software is no longer needed, what need renewal, and which users need licenses. For example, if you’ve got a bunch of SaaS subscriptions, you might want to closely monitor usage to check you are getting your money’s worth.

Here are some of the frameworks, methods, and trends for cloud-based user management.

The zero trust model is a security framework that enables strict authentication for both internal and external connections that doesn’t rely on implicit trust.

If attackers compromise a user account they won’t be able to go beyond the user’s authorized privileges and block all malicious activity.

Passwordless authentication

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Password-based authentication leaves companies at risk of attack. This is somewhat due to low password security and people’s reluctance to set long and secure passwords which they can’t remember. Studies show that up to 81% of breaches from external attacks were due to compromised passwords.

To combat this, passwordless systems provide authentication by using multiple authentication methods without using a password the user has to remember.

Product-led growth (PLG)

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PLG is a business strategy that centres on product and user experiences. When a PLG business focuses on improving sign in experiences for users, this often creates a positive impact on user management and retention as well. Spending time improving the user sign on experience can increase conversion rates, resulting in a stickier product.

Increased SaaS tool adoption

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Modern authentication requirements are incredibly complex and are not easily supported by traditional in-house approaches to user management and authentication. Instead, companies rely on third-party tools to manage their cloud-based services and applications. By buying third party expertise, businesses can save money.

The ‘user’ part of user management

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User management is what it sounds like - a way of managing users. Here’s some of the concepts and mechanisms for user control.

A user profile contains information about a particular individual and may include name, age, photo, and personal characteristics which are used to identify that person. User profiles exist on basically every online social network like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Slack, and more. Users control their preferences and choose how they want to appear within applications.

User roles can be defined in different ways but they are usually a set of permissions associated with specific roles within a business. Administrators might create a role for ‘marketing’ with a defined set of permissions that are different to a ‘finance’ role.

User roles are most commonly defined by:

  • Function: the functions a user needs to perform.
  • Organization: the user’s job title, department, or team they are part of.

User permissions

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User permissions grant access to specific resources including applications, files, and folders. In large organizations, most user permissions are grouped into user roles. Permissions are the most basic level of access, for example, providing read or write access to different application functions.

User groups are a way of grouping users who perform similar tasks. For example, outbound sales reps and inbound sales reps might be put into a ‘sales’ user group. But only inbound sales reps have ‘call center’ group access.

Policies define how users are allowed access to applications and systems. They inform the user management strategy, and determine access based on user roles, permissions, and groups. Policies are usually developed based on what the organization requires.

User management solutions

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Since the shift to modern approaches and threats to data exposure and leaks, the market for user management solutions has grown in recent years. There are now a bunch of user management solutions including:

  • Frontegg: Frontegg is an all-in-one user management platform with features from authentication, authorization, analytics, and admin portals.
  • Okta: Okta is a cloud-based identity management service that’s also compatible with on-premises applications including features like SSO, Provisioning, and mobile identity management.
  • AuthO: Auth0 is an identity management platform with authentication and authorization service to add to your applications.
  • Azure: Microsoft Azure is a public cloud computing platform including solutions like SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. Azure can be used for analytics, storage, networking, virtual computing, and more.
  • Kinde: Kinde is a user management and authentication platform that provides support for all aspects of user control, including roles and permissions, multi-factor authentication, enterprise and social sign in.

User management at Kinde

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At Kinde, we’re making user management simple and powerful to help companies boost security, drive conversion and save money - in just a few minutes.

We’ve made getting set up with Kinde as stress-free and easy as possible. With best-in-class security protocols, an intuitive user-friendly UI that’s built for everyone, and powerful and easy-to-use APIs, we’re here to get you up and running in minutes.

See how Kinde compares to other authentication providers.

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